Tag Archive | AMNH

Favorite Extinct Placoderm: The Dunkleosteus

Dunkleosteus
Argh, Scary Fish! (All Photos Taken By Gail at the American Museum of Natural History)

Placoderms were the earliest group of vertebrates to achieve widespread success as predators. During the 50-Million-Year span of the Devonian period, they diversified worldwide to become the dominant fishes of that time. But despite this success, they rapidly declined and became extinct toward the end of the Devonian.

Dunkleosteus

Placoderms are characterized by heavy body armor covering the head and trunk regions. To me, it looks like a Tiger’s face with a Fish body. I like it.

Dunkleosteus

Placoderm Signage

Dunkleosteus

Look Out!

Hall of Mammals Dioramas, Museum of Natural History

Impala
The Tame Impala (All Photos By Gail)

I remember when I first saw the trailer for Night at the Museum, and I was so excited for the movie because it had long been a fantasy of mine to be in NYC’s Museum of Natural History after closing time to see if all of those animals in the nature dioramas might come to life. Just being serious.

I like to visit the Natural History Museum on Central Park West a few times a year to see the special, temporary exhibits, but I also try to spend time when I am there at my favorite installations which are the Hall of Ocean Life and the Guggenheim Hall of Gems and Minerals, where I could lose myself for hours.

Grizzly Bear
Grizzly Bears

On a recent trip however, Geoffrey and I decided to spend a couple of hours really exploring the Mammal Halls – including animals from North America, Africa and Asia displayed in painstakingly recreated lifelike dioramas of their natural habitats – which is generally a section of the museum we end up racing through on our way to somewhere else. Although these dioramas undergo regular maintenance and periodic restorations, they are essentially unchanged in 50 years and the stories they tell are eternal.

I really love the mammal halls because they are kept mostly in darkness, where the only lights come from inside the dioramas. This makes them somewhat challenging to photograph but gives the exhibits a timeless sense of romance and adventure.

Baboons
Baboons

You can read a bit of the background on how these dioramas were created at This Link. But for now, let’s see more pictures.

Alaskan Brown Bear
Alaskan Brown Bears

Wapiti Elk
Wapiti (Elk)

American Bison
American Bison

Alaska Moose
Alaskan Moose

Musk Ox
Musk Ox

Mountain Goat Family
Mountain Goat Family

Ice Age Mammals
Miniature Diorama of North American Ice Age Mammals

Big Horn White Sheep
Big Horn White Sheep

Cheetahs
Cheetahs

Water Buffalo
Water Buffalos

GiraffesZebras

The Giraffes and Zebras above are actually two halves of the same large Diorama.

These photos represent just a tiny fraction of the all the animals and exhibits we saw. It was such a fun day! you should go and have your own adventure!

The American Museum of Natural History is located on Central Park West Between 79th and 83rd Streets on NYC’s Upper West Side. Take the C train to the 83rd Street Stop.

81st and Central Park West Subway Stop, Museum of Natural History

Orange Snake
All Photos By Gail

If you happen to be on the NYC Subway, in transit to the American Museum of Natural History via the C Train, and you are not entirely sure which stop to get off at, don’t even worry about it. You will know when you are at the correct station (81st Street) when you see all kinds of colorful tile mosaic creatures crawling along the walls.

Turtle and Lizard

Assorted Lizards

These gorgeous representations of reptiles, fish, insects and other creatures are part of a station-wide mural project (circa 1999) called For Want of a Nail, which also extends onto the stations lower level platform, exit ramp tunnels to the street and on both the uptown and down town stops (all photos in this post were taken on the uptown platform).

Blue Fish

Tortoise and Frog

The theme of For Want of a Nail relates to the interconnectedness of all living things. Animals depicted in grey shadow (such as the giant tortoise, above) are now extinct while living creatures are depicted in color.

Snail Shell

Lady Bugs

Monarch and Caterpillar

There’s always a lot going on at the Museum of Natural History, and it is very easy to get to. You should plan a summer visit right now!

Green Lizard

Frog

Bat Tile

Kangaroos

Hummingbird

Alligator

Sloth

Origami Christmas Tree at The American Museum of Natural History

Origami Christmas Tree
All Photos By Gail, Click on any Photo to Enlarge for Detail

The American Museum of Natural History has its Holiday Tree on display, and what’s special about this tree is that it is decorated entirely with Origami Ornaments! The theme of this year’s tree is Wicked, Wild and Wonderful, honoring the Museum’s new exhibition The Power of Poison. The ornaments were created especially for the tree by volunteers who began a Facebook likes campaign for it and started folding them in July to complete hundreds of creations that are displayed on the tree and around its base. Here are some of our favorites from this years display!

Origami Giraffes and Green Frog
A family of Giraffes and a Green Frog

Witches from MacBeth
Trio of Witches from Macbeth Surrounding their Cauldron

Origami Cobra
Coiled Cobra

Origami Bees with Honeycomb
Red Ants, Bees, Honeycomb

Origami Octopi
Origami Octopi

Origami Geko Rhino Peacock
Geko, Rhinos and Peacock

Origami Blue Parrot, Tarantula Lizards
Blue Parrot, Tarantula and Lizards

Origami Killer Whales
Killer Whales

Origami Flamingos and T Rex
Pink Flamingos and a Red T Rex

Origami Stegosaurus

There are tons of Dinosaurs on the Tree, including the orange Stegosaurus seen above (visit the the Museum’s 4th Floor to see his Bones!)

The Origami Holiday Tree will be on Display through January 12, 2014 at the AMNH, Located on Central Park West Between 77th Street and 81st Street (Take the C Train to 81st) in the Grand Gallery, Near the 77th Street exit on the Museum’s First Floor.

Twinkly Stars
Twinkly Stars!

Origami Tree Sign

Origami Holiday Tree 2018
2018 Holiday Tree Representing an Underwater Theme

Creatures of Light Exhibit at the Museum of Natural History

Creatures of Light Sign

You know what’s cool? Animals and insects that light up on their own. The ability to do that is called Bioluminescence, which is a good word to know. If you have ever seen a group of iridescent green fireflies blinking and flitting about on a dark summer evening, or a rainbow jellyfish glowing like carnival sideshow in a public aquarium, you know that it is a fairly delightful thing to observe. Bioluminescence!

Right now, the Museum of Natural History is hosting a special exhibit called Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence, which has been on my “To Do” list since I first read about it a few weeks ago. This weekend, my brother was in town visiting from Arizona, and since his a big Science geek, I dragged him along with me to the museum to check out the rooms full of glowing animals. Or so I thought.

Located on the fourth floor of the museum, Creatures of Light is set up in a connected series of dark galleries that wind around through the different little exhibit stations where the various animals that bioluminesce are featured. The thing is, with exception of one tiny collection of Flashlight fish, that glowed bright green as they swam in a pitch black tank, all of the other animals and insects in the exhibit are models, not real animals. This is bogus. How difficult would it have been for the American Museum of Natural History to pull a few strings and get a tank or two of real glowing jellyfish for the exhibit? My guess: Not terribly difficult. Jellyfish are not an endangered species or anything. I do not know why they saw the need to phone this in, but I call shenanigans!

Also, out of necessity there is a lot reading to do. A lot of reading. Every two feet there is something else to read so you can understand what you are looking at, and what chemicals make it light up and blah blah blah. Reading! When I go to the museum, I want to look at cool things but I don’t want to stand around reading.

Creatures of Light doesn’t flat out suck or anything. It’s certainly worth going to if you’re not expecting to see any live animals. But I think I was hoping for that, so I was disappointed. Did I learn about how Fireflies attract mates, and did I see giant plastic models of somewhat glowing jellyfish hanging from the ceiling? Yes, yes I did. Was it worth the additional $12.50 you have to pay, in addition to whatever you pay to get into the museum? Meh. I am not going to whine too much about that because the museum needs the money so, it’s going to a good cause.

After we left the Creatures of Light Exhibit (by the way, your entry time is predetermined, so you have to go, I think, within 15 minutes of whatever time gets stamped on your ticket) we saw the Dinosaurs, The Hall of Ocean Life and the Hall of Gems and Minerals, all of which made my brother’s head explode. So, that was pretty cool.

Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence Runs through January 6th, 2013 at the American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West and 79th Street on NYC’s Upper West Side.